Ayurveda defines health as a perfect balance between mind, body, and soul. Any health condition would be the resultant of an imbalance between these.
An Ayurvedic practitioner needs to understand a person’s lifestyle, food habits and occupation before proceeding with a treatment. While assessing mental wellbeing, three qualities of mind (satva, rajas and tamas) are often taken into consideration. The quality of satva (mental composure) is more regarded to contribute to the equilibrium state of mind while the other two qualities have tendency to create an emotional imbalance and factors in stress, anxiety, and sleep patterns of an individual.
Ameliorating satva is key
“We call Ayurvedic psychotherapy as satvavajaya chikitsa and we evaluate a person’s mind. We engage with the person to understand their concerns and treat accordingly. It could be just hearing the person out,” Dr Ravi Prasad Hegde, Associate Professor from Alva’s Ayurvedic Medical College from Moodbidri, Karnataka.
Dr Hegde further explains the various steps involved in Ayurvedic psychotherapy
- The very first step is getting to know the self – where a physician hears and assists a person in understanding their strengths and weaknesses and develops an insight about them. This will help in self-realisation and calmness.
- Boosting mental stamina is the next step. This is where counselling sessions come into picture. It is an important step as the practitioner reassures a person and helps him or her towards a positive outlook.
- The physician will ask a person to recall the moments from the past. It is to rekindle pleasurable moments that would aid in depression. This also helps in identifying and dealing with the hidden conflicts from the past which might be the primary source of an emotional disturbance.
- The last is step is to build a routine and follow it. The focus on a routine and bringing self- discipline will bring in higher level of awareness and mental tranquillity
Seek help when in confusion
“Seeking help is the most important, yet difficult part as most people fail to understand that they need help,” Dr Suhas Kumar Shetty, Principal and Medical Director from KLE University’s Shri BM Kankanwadi Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Belgaum.
“The outcome of the psychotherapy ultimately depends on the how motivated a person is to bring back themselves to their previous state of mind. Just a single session of counselling can help them get relief,” he says.
Focus on a better lifestyle
Ayurveda’s focus has always been on practice of a healthy lifestyle and good code of conduct to attain a healthy state of mind. And describes faulty lifestyle as one the most important causes of any health condition. This is backed by a 2021 study conducted by Nobutaka Hirooka and team from Japan’s Saitama Medical University.
The study evaluated the association between a healthy lifestyle practices and purpose of life involving 4,820 participants. They found out that individuals who have better health- related lifestyle gain a higher sense of life purpose.
Ayurvedic tips for mental wellbeing: Expert recommendations
- Mindful eating habits and practice of a wholesome diet
- Restraining from anger, grief, jealous, greed, arrogance (Arishad-varga)
- Abstaining from practices that are uncongenial (Prajnaparadha)
- Practicing the personal and social etiquette that include personal, social, religious, and moral behavior. This includes Sadvritta (good behavior) and achara rasayana (respectful acts)
- Healthy sleeping habits: Sleeping during daytime and staying awake in night is contra-indicated
- Surround yourself with good company (Satsang)
- Yoga and meditation to create a balance between mind-body and soul